March 11 2004: Update News From Haiti
Haiti Labor Crisis!
Haiti's New US-Installed
Hiati's War Lords
US Occupation Troops
1) African Union Blasts Haiti Ouster
By ANTHONY MITCHELL
.c The Associated Press
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - The African Union has condemned the ouster of exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, saying he was removed from power unconstitutionally, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Now in exile in the Central African Republic, Aristide insists the United States abducted him and forced him to leave his troubled Caribbean nation amid a weekslong insurgency. The United States has dismissed the allegations.
The 53-member AU, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa, said the way Aristide ``was removed set a dangerous precedent for duly elected persons.''
It added that it wished ``no action be taken to legitimize the rebel forces,'' according to a statement published in the Daily Monitor.
Also Tuesday, Aristide's Miami-based attorney said he asked the United States to investigate his client's ouster.
Ira Kurzban claimed the United States was behind Aristide's Feb. 29 ouster, allegations U.S. officials have frequently denied.
``Because they were kidnapped, by officials of the United States government, a claim has been filed,'' Kurzban said at a news conference in Miami's Little Haiti.
A U.S. State Department official dismissed Kurzban's allegations, saying Aristide quit his office and fled on his own volition as his government collapsed.
The AU said it also supported calls by the 15-nation Caribbean Community, known as CARICOM, for an investigation under the auspices of the United Nations to clarify the circumstances leading to his ``relinquishing the presidency.''
``The African Union has decided to undertake immediate consultation with both CARICOM and eventually the United Nations in order to discuss the conditions for a quick return to constitutional democracy,'' the statement said.
It also said the AU would accept Aristide being granted asylum in Africa.
AU Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare met Aristide in the Central African Republic on Tuesday and declined to say if the African body was supporting Aristide.
``It isn't about support for one person. It's a principle,'' Konare said. ``If these changes do not take a democratic path, none of the problems will be resolved.''
Chaos has swept Haiti since Aristide's ouster, sparking a frenzy of looting and violence. At least 130 people were killed in the rebellion; reprisal killings since Aristide's ouster have left at least 300 dead.
Aristide arrived in Bangui on a flight arranged by the United States on March 1 and has been staying in an apartment in the presidential palace since then.
About 95 percent of Haitians are descendants of African slaves brought
to the Caribbean nation by French colonialists.
2) San Francisco Labor Council Resolution on Haiti
Date: 3/9/2004 7:53:32 PM Pacific Standard Time
RESTORE THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF HAITI -
We applaud and support the actions of Representatives
Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and other members of the
We call for an investigation into last year's shipping of
We call on the state AFL-CIO, labor councils, local and
a) demand an investigation into the Bush administration's
b) demand the immediate release of Aristide and his
- Adopted by unanimous vote of the San Francisco Labor
3) US faces mounting international fury over Aristide's 'forced' exit
By Andrew Gumbel
05 March 2004
South Africa added its voice last night to a growing
international chorus questioning the circumstances
surrounding Jean-Bertrand Aristide's departure from
Haiti and demanded an investigation into allegations
that the US forcibly removed a democratically elected
president from office.
In a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration,
The issue, fuelled by direct accusations by Mr Aristide
The Bush administration has denied kidnapping or
The 15-nation Caribbean Community, Caricom, has refused
Ms Zuma stood full-square behind the Caricom position.
South Africa was one of Mr Aristide's closest allies
The South African President, Thabo Mbeki, was one of
South Africa has said it would offer Mr Aristide asylum
Meanwhile, the Haitian consul general in New York has
4) HAITIAN STORY SOUNDS FISHY TO CARIBBEAN LEADERS
Caribbean nations just aren't buying into the Bush story about Haiti.
Instead, the fifteen member Caribbean Community (Caricom) have
"Heads of government were deeply perturbed at the contradictory
Further, the Caribbean leaders made clear that their countries would
The leaders, at the end of the summit yesterday, decided to defer
Caricom, a trade and economic group, felt betrayed by the United
Regional leaders were further angered that these countries refused
It went on, "Heads of Government were disappointed by the reluctance
The statement read further, "On Sunday 29 February 2004, the
Caricom leaders also condemned the continual lack of funding for
Caricom's call for a UN investigation was joined later by South
5) Caribbean Won't Help With Peacekeeping
.c The Associated Press
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - Fourteen Caribbean nations rejected joining any peacekeeping force for Haiti Wednesday, criticizing Western nations in their response to the rebellion against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said the Caribbean Community was ``extremely disappointed'' at the involvement of ``Western partners'' in the hasty departure of Aristide.
Speaking for the 15-nation trading bloc, Patterson claimed that the council failed to respond to its appeals to help Aristide by sending an international armed force to restore order in Haiti.
``We believe that we put forward a very compelling case before the Security Council on Thursday of last week. The Security Council failed to respond then,'' said Patterson.
Aristide fled into exile on Sunday as rebels closed in on the capital following a weeks long rebellion. Aristide claimed U.S. troops forced him to flee.
``We could not fail to observe that what was impossible on Thursday could be accomplished in an emergency meeting on Sunday. We are disappointed in the extreme at the failure to act,'' Patterson said.
``In the prevailing circumstances, the leaders do not envisage their
participation in the multinational peacekeeping force authorized by
the U.N. Security Council,'' the leaders said in a statement ending
an emergency meeting on Haiti.
6) Caribbean countries ask for investigation into
Aristide resignation and refuse to participate in peacekeeping force
The CARICOM decision, prompted by Aristide's allegations that he was kidnapped by U.S. military personnel, appeared to be a blow to international efforts to forge a coalition government in Haiti and return the nation to normalcy.
CARICOM mediated the power-sharing plan that is at the root of current plans for a transitional Haitian government, and its withdrawal is likely to complicate the already tangled efforts to select a new prime minister and cabinet.
Leaders of the regional bloc, which includes Haiti, said they spoke with Aristide via telephone on Tuesday and remain disturbed by the way Aristide was forced to leave office.
They added that the current plans for a transition government no longer follow the CARICOM proposals because their plan called for Aristide and his opponents to share power in a new cabinet.
CARICOM's position was announced by Chairman and Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson Wednesday afternoon in Kingston after 1 ½ days of discussions in an emergency meeting about what role CARICOM would play in the future of Haiti.
The summit was attended by leaders from nine of CARICOM's 15 member nations.
''They are expressing their disappointment with the way things have evolved,'' said CARICOM Assistant Secretary General Colin Granderson, who took part in the talks. ``Under the CARICOM plan things were supposed to happen in a certain way. It was an effort to try and preserve constitutional continuity and democratic concerns. And even more precisely to avoid the chaos that has broke out in Haiti since the departure of the president.''
''They are not reneging on their commitment to Haiti,'' Granderson said. ``They are just saying that ... they don't like what they see taking place.''
CARICOM wants an independent inquiry into Aristide's charges that he wasa forced to resign and then ''kidnapped'' to the Central African Republic -- charges vehemently denied by U.S. officials and the San Francisco security firm that provides his bodyguard.
Despite their decision not to participate in the three-month international security force approved for Haiti by the U.N. Security Council this weekend, CARICOM leaders did not rule out future participation once the situation in Haiti becomes less chaotic and more stable.
In the interim, Patterson said the regional bloc would put together a task force to see how it can assist with the humanitarian aid and institution building in Haiti.
At the same time, the leaders called for the immediate disarmament of anti-Aristide rebels and pro-Aristide gangs in Haiti and said no member of the international community should do anything to legitimize the rebels or include them in any interim government.
7) Aristide's Fall: The Undemocratic U.S. Policy in Haiti
Interview by IRC's Policy Director Tom Barry with Robert Maguire, director of the Haiti Program at Trinity College in Washington, DC.
NED and USAID are important, says Robert Maguire, but actually the main actor is the International Republican Institute on International Affairs (IRI), which has been very active in Haiti for many years. Particularly in the past three years, IRI has it been working with the opposition groups. IRI insisted, through the administration, that USAID give it funding for its work in Haiti and USAID has reluctantly done so. IRI has worked exclusively with the Democratic Convergence groups in its party-building exercises and support.
The IRI point person is Stanley Lucas, who historically has had close ties with the Haitian military. All of the IRI-sponsored meetings with the opposition have occurred outside Haiti, either in the Dominican Republic or in the United States. The IRI has indirectly opposed Aristide from the beginning, since it has only worked with opposition groups that have challenged the legitimacy of the Aristide government.
See full article online at:
With printer-friendly PDF version at:
8) Operation Sweatshop
Jean-Bertrand Aristide's move to raise Haiti's minimum wage was the last straw for American corporations and elitist U.S. factions.
By Chris Floyd
Moscow Times, Russia
March 5-11, 2004
This week, the Bush administration added another violent "regime change" notch to its gunbelt, toppling the democratically elected president of Haiti and replacing him with an unelected gang of convicted killers, death squad leaders, militarists, narcoterrorists, CIA operatives, hereditary elitists and corporate predators -- a bit like Team Bush itself, in other words.
Although the Haiti coup was widely portrayed as an irresistible upsurge of popular discontent, it was of course the result of years of hard work by Bush's dedicated corrupters of democracy, as William Bowles reports in Information Clearinghouse. Bushist bagmen funded the political opposition to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, smuggled guns to exiled Haitian warlords and carried out a relentless strangulation of the country, cutting off long-promised financial and structural aid to one of the poorest nations on earth until food prices were soaring, unemployment spiked to 70 percent and the broken-backed government lost control of society to armed gangs of criminals, fanatics and the merely desperate. Meanwhile, Haiti was forced to pay $2 million per month on debts run up by the murderous U.S.-backed dictatorships that ruled the island for decades after the American military occupation of 1915-1934.
The ostensible reason for Bush's deadly squeeze-play was Haiti's disputed elections in 2000. That vote, only the nation's third free election in 200 years, was indeed marred by reports of irregularities -- although these were not nearly as egregious as the well-documented hijinks which saw a certain runner-up candidate appointed to the White House that same year. There was no question that Aristide and his party received an overwhelming majority of legitimate votes; however, out of the 7,500 offices up for grabs, election observers did find that seven senate results seemed of dodgy provenance.
So what happened? The seven disputed senators resigned. New elections for the seats were called, but the opposition -- two elitist factions financed by Washington's favorite engines of subversion, the Orwellian-monikered "National Endowment for Democracy" and "International Republican Institute" -- refused to take part. The government broke down because the legislature couldn't convene. When Bush came in, he tightened the screws of the international blockade of the island, insisting that $500 million in desperately needed aid could not be released unless the opposition participated in new elections -- while he was simultaneously paying the opposition not to participate.
The ultimate aim of this brutal pretzel logic was to grind Haiti's destitute people further into the ground and destroy Aristide's ability to govern. His real crime, of course, was not the Florida-style election follies or the reported "tyranny." Bush loves that stuff -- witness his eager embrace of the nuke-peddling dictatorship of Pakistan, the human-boiling hardman of Uzbekistan, the torture-happy tyrant of Kazakhstan, the drug-running warlords of Afghanistan and so forth.
No, Aristide did something far worse than stuffing ballots or killing people -- he tried to raise the minimum wage to the princely sum of two dollars a day. This move outraged the American corporations -- and their local lackeys -- who have for generations used Haiti as a pool of dirt-cheap labor and sky-high profits. It was the last straw for the elitist factions, one of which is actually led by an American citizen and former Reagan-Bush appointee, manufacturing tycoon Andy Apaid.
Apaid was the point man for the Reagan-Bush "market reform" drive in Haiti. Of course, "reform," in the degraded jargon of the privateers, means exposing even the very means of survival and sustenance to the ravages of powerful corporate interests. For example, the Reagan-Bush plan forced Haiti to lift import tariffs on rice, which had long been a locally grown staple. Then they flooded Haiti with heavily subsidized American rice, destroying the local market and throwing thousands of self-sufficient farmers out of work. With a now-captive market, the American companies jacked up their prices, spreading ruin and hunger throughout Haitian society.
The jobless farmers provided new fodder for the factories of Apaid and his cronies. Reagan and Bush chipped in by abolishing taxes for American corporations who set up Haitian sweatshops. The result was a precipitous drop in wages -- and life expectancy. Aristide's first election in 1990 threatened these cozy arrangements, so he was duly ejected by a military coup, with Bush I's not-so-tacit connivance.
Bill Clinton restored Aristide to office in 1994 -- but only after forcing him to agree to, yes, "market reforms." In fact, it was Clinton, the privateers' pal, who instigated the post-election aid embargo that Bush II used to such devastating effect. Aristide's chief failing as a leader was his attempt to live up to this bipartisan blackmail. As in every other nation that's come under the IMF whip, Haiti's already fragile economy collapsed. Bush family retainers like Apaid then shoved the country into total chaos, making it easy prey for the warlords whom Bush operatives -- many of them old Iran-Contra hands -- supplied with arms through the Dominican Republic, The Boston Globe reports.
When the terrorist warlords attacked last month, Bush flatly refused Aristide's plea for an international force to preserve Haiti's democracy. Instead, he sent armed men to "persuade" Aristide to resign. Within hours, the Bush-backed terrorists were marching through Port-au-Prince, executing Aristide's supporters, The New York Times reports.
Guess they won't be asking for two dollars a day now, eh? Mission accomplished!
Thus, just like his father, Bush has overthrown Aristide, and for the same reason: He represented a threat to their "natural order" -- unchecked rule by pampered, protected elites. Terrorism, despotism, torture, WMD trafficking: All of this can be countenanced, even embraced. But Aristide's alternative -- democratic, capitalist, but with "a prejudice for the poor," as enjoined by the Gospels -- this evil can never be tolerated.
9) Haiti: What we learned from the net
Sometimes it really does just hit you. The Internet really does change the way we look at things. I was struck by this as I look back upon the recent tumultuous events in Haiti.
Watching television news here in Britain - which is how most of us get our news, especially foreign news - the story we saw played out was of a once-democratic leader (Jean-Bertrand Aristide) who had somehow gone bad and was tossed out of office by a popular rebellion. But only hours after the departure of Haiti's elected president, we heard of dramatic developments taking place at a textile factory in the north east of the country. The news came via email.
The factory was owned by a Dominican company called Grupo M, and produced materials for, among others, Levi Strauss. Its workers had formed a union, but came to work one morning to find that all the union members had been sacked. The following day, a demonstration of the workers in solidarity with their sacked comrades was set to take place.
Now this was happening in the context of a rebellion against what appeared to be a hated and corrupt regime, so one would have expected that the rebel forces would either let the workers carry on, or even come to their aid. Instead, rebel troops came to the factory at the invitation of management to beat and arrest demonstrators, and terrorize the others into returning to work.
Not one of the three 24-hour news channels I receive was reporting that story, despite extensive coverage on the Internet. The story was reported on Haitian web sites, and then on anti-sweatshop websites and mailing lists, and eventually got picked up by such sites as the Workers Independent News Service (WINS) and LabourStart, which launched an online campaign in support of the workers.
Now you could argue that the happenings at a single textile factory in north-east Haiti may not deserve to be reported on the BBC, Sky and ITN. Fair enough. But because stories like this don't get reported, we don't see the whole picture. Suddenly the rebels no longer appear to be cigar-chomping Fidel Castros emerging from the jungles, kalashnikovs in hand, singing revolutionary anthems. They start to look more like Pinkertons, union-busting private cops.
In a statement released by one Haitian union, the "rebels" were also called just that - in double quotation marks. The real rebels in Haiti seem to be workers at Grupo M, daring to fight for their rights to have a union even as their country imploded.
For more information, see http://www.labourstart.org/haiti/
10) Haiti Council Names Interim Prime Minister
By PETER PRENGAMAN and IAN JAMES
.c The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Haiti's advisory council named an interim prime minister to pave the way for elections, while U.S. Marines said they would start helping disarm the general population in a potentially volatile move after weeks of bloodshed.
Militants demanding ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's return stoned cars and set barricades ablaze Tuesday, blocking a main road in the capital and threatening renewed turmoil.
The new prime minister, Gerard Latortue, a former U.N. official and foreign minister, faces the difficult task of helping to restore peace in this troubled Caribbean nation following a monthlong insurgency that helped drive Aristide from power on Feb. 29. Rebels had seized control of half the country, sparking a frenzy of looting and violence. More than 400 people have died in the rebellion and reprisal killings.
U.S. Col. Charles Gurganus told reporters in Port-au-Prince that a joint disarmament program with Haitian police would begin Wednesday. He called on Haitians to tell peacekeepers who has weapons and to turn in any arms, but he gave few details of how the program will work.
``The disarmament will be both active and reactive, but I'm not going to say any more about that,'' he said. Rebel groups and Aristide loyalists have threatened violence if weapons aren't taken away from their enemies.
Since the U.S. and French-led peacekeepers arrived a week ago, there has been confusion over who is in charge of disarming groups. On Monday, Gurganus said disarming rebels was not part of the peacekeepers' mission, but he indicated that could change if police asked for help.
After five days of private meetings, the seven-member Council of Sages settled on Latortue, who also served as an international business consultant in Miami.
Latortue and interim President Boniface Alexandre will work toward organizing elections and building a new government for Haiti. Under Aristide, the prime minister's position was largely ceremonial. But Latortue's position will be that of a powerbroker and has the potential of carrying enough weight to smooth political divisions.
Council member Dr. Ariel Henry said Latortue was chosen because the council believed he was ``an independent guy, a democrat.'' Councilor Anne-Marie Issa described him as someone ``to pull everybody together.''
Latortue, who served as foreign minister in 1988, was in Miami but accepted the position in a telephone call, council members said. He was expected to fly to Haiti as soon as Wednesday to replace Yvon Neptune. Latortue couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.
Neptune stayed in his post even after Aristide fled the country and Aristide opponents have demanded that he be replaced.
Also Tuesday, CIA Director George J. Tenet warned that in Haiti, ``a humanitarian disaster or mass migration remains possible.''
``A cycle of clashes and revenge killings could easily be set off, given the large number of angry, well-armed people on both sides,'' he told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington. ``Improving security will require the difficult task of disarming armed groups and augmenting and retraining a national security force.''
Aristide, meanwhile, has insisted from exile in Africa that he is still president of Haiti, saying he was removed from office by the U.S. government.
State Department officials have denied those claims. But the 53-nation African Union and the 15-nation Caribbean Community have said they are investigating.
Ira Kurzban, a Miami-based lawyer for Aristide, told The Associated Press that he has called on U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to investigate.
``The kidnapping by the U.S. was part of a coup d'etat,'' Kurzban claimed.
In an interview Monday with National Public Radio, Powell again denied that Washington forced out Aristide, saying U.S. troops saved his life.
Aristide ``contacted our ambassador,'' Powell said, ``and our ambassador made appropriate arrangements so that he could leave safely, which many people said we should make sure would happen - that nothing would happen to him. And he left of his own free will.''
U.S. forces in Haiti, about 1,600 strong, have a limited set of circumstances during which they can use deadly force. They cannot stop looting, even of American companies. Nor can they stop Haitian-on-Haitian violence, officials said.
Their mission is to protect key sites to pave the way for an eventual U.N. peacekeeping force, but they have found themselves getting dragged into policing the troubled nation.
Late Monday, Marines shot and killed the driver of a car speeding toward a checkpoint. A passenger was wounded. The U.S. Defense Department defended the Marines, saying they acted within their orders to fire when they felt threatened.
Aristide was a popular slum priest, elected on promises to champion the poor who make up the vast majority of Haiti's 8 million people. But he has lost support, with Haitians saying he failed to improve their lives, condoned corruption and used police and armed supporters to attack political opponents.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that he hopes the international community will have the patience and stamina necessary to commit to Haiti ``for the long haul.''
``It's going to take time, it's going to take lots of hard work,'' he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
The United Nations also appealed for $35 million to fund emergency
humanitarian relief operations to help stabilize Haiti.
11) DN! EXCLUSIVE: Haitian Consul General Says Aristide Still President
Date: 3/3/2004 12:03:04 PM Pacific Standard Time
TO LISTEN/WATCH go to: http://www.democracynow.org/
DEMOCRACY NOW! EXCLUSIVE: Haitian Consul General Says Aristide Still President
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004
In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Consul General of the Haitian government in New York Harry Fouche recognizes the Aristide government as legitimate saying Jean Bertrand Aristide is still president of Haiti and Yvon Neptune is still his prime minister.
EXCERPT OF TRANSCRIPT:
Amy Goodman: Harry Fouche, as the Consul General of the Haitian government in New York, do you still recognize the authority of President Jean Bertrand Aristide?
Harry Fouche: Well, let me put it you to this way - Yvon Neptune is still the prime minister. Yvon Neptune was chosen by President Aristide.
Amy Goodman: Does that mean that Jean Bertrand Aristide is the President?
Harry Fouche: Yes, for practical purposes.
Harry Fouche: Well certainly. Everything that you have heard described, you know, brings fear to us, and also brings terror to the country, so we are hoping common sense and a sense of justice and a sense of fairness will prevail, so actions will be taken quickly to remove these sinister characters from positions of - that they are occupying now, where they are terrorizing the country.
The Haitian Army Returns: Who Is Guy Philippe?
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004
For many Haitians, it is like a real life nightmare is once again becoming a reality. The feared Haitian army, disbanded by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is making a comeback. And what is particularly disturbing to veteran Haiti observers and human rights organizations is the man who now claims to be in control of the Haitian police and military.
He says the man he most admires is former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. He praises the former dictator as the man who "made Chile what it is.'" Next to Pinochet, his second greatest hero is Ronald Reagan. The man is paramilitary leader Guy Philippe, a former Haitian police chief who was trained by US Special Forces in Ecuador in the early 1990s.
The Haitian government and the private US security firm hired in 1998 by Haiti to protect the president accuse Philippe of master-minding a deadly attack on the Police Academy in July 2001 and of an attempted coup in December 2001. When he is discussed in the corporate media, he is almost always referred to simply as a rebel leader, a former police chief.
But human rights groups paint a different picture.
Human Rights Watch reported Friday that during Philippe's term as police chief of the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas from 1997 to 1999, international monitors "learned that dozens of suspected gang members were summarily executed, mainly by police under the command of Inspector Berthony Bazile, Philippe's deputy."
Yesterday, Philippe and his paramilitaries retook control of the former Haitian Army headquarters across from the National palace. Philippe declared to the international press that he himself is now in control of 90% of Haiti's armed forces. In an address on Haitian Radio, Philippe declared, "The country is in my hands." He summoned 20 police commanders to meet with him yesterday and warned that if they failed to appear he would arrest them.
Also yesterday, Philippe announced he would arrest Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who is a top official of Aristide's Lavalas party. Democracy Now! heard from sources in Haiti that Neptune's home was burned and looted and that he was being pursued by armed gangs. People close to Neptune told us he fears for his life. Local radio reported that Neptune was evacuated from his office by helicopter as Guy Philippe led a mob in a march to the office. Meanwhile, there are reports of regular execution-style killings on the Haitian seaside.
o Brian Concannon, works for the Bureau des Avocats Internacionaux, (International Lawyers Office in Haiti, where he has spent the last several years prosecuting crimes committed during the 1991-1994 coup. Among the cases he has prosecuted are those stemming from the 1994 Raboteau massacre in a pro-democracy neighborhood in Gonaives.
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004 http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/03/1632202
EXCERPT OF TRANSCRIPT:
Amy Goodman: Stan Goff, when you arrested Jean Tatun, the circumstances and your assessment of him?
Stan Goff: Yeah. Well, the book I wrote about it. It goes into
a lot of detail about it. He and one other FRAPH member along with
four members of the five had back --
Stan Goff: Yeah, I'm sorry - I mean there were tens of thousands of people in the streets as I arrived there, and this was about three-quarters of a mile from the [inaudible] that was recently burned down. They backed this crowd into what was basically a huge cul-de-sac and when we encountered them it looked to me like they were about to begin firing in the crowd. So, it was myself and three other team members ordered them to put their weapons on the ground. Tatoune actually hesitated and I came very near shooting him and I'm sort of regretting that I didn't. We arrested them, but the minute they laid their weapons on the ground, the police also carried these iron and wood batons that they frequently cracked people over the head with. One of the crowd members waded in and snatched up a baton and hit Jean Tatoune and his - I forget the other fellow's name, the other Fraphist - hit both of them over the head and opened their heads up pretty good and we ended up in this peculiar situation where suddenly to put them under arrest we had to protect them from some pretty surly crowds. And it's my own medics that sewed Tatoune up before we put him in the cell. It was an exciting day overall. We had heard a lot from just walking around. I had a fluent French speaker on my team. A native. We spent several days walking around just talking to people. The other guy that was heavily involved in the Raboteau massacre was the commander, a guy named Costra. He was to the best of my knowledge put in jail by and by, but everybody in town - [Interrupted]
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Gerard Latortue, the man chosen to lead Haiti out of political and social turmoil, arrived here from Florida Wednesday to begin the arduous task of building a transitional government.
Latortue's plane was greeted by a group of friends, relatives, business leaders, journalists and members of the council who chose him to be the new prime minister.
Once critical of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, he has said his first priority will be to unite a population divided between those who oppose the former leader and supporters who want to see him returned to power.
Aristide fled Feb. 29 amid international pressure to step down
and a bloody rebellion that left more than 300 dead. The once popular
slum priest, elected on promises to champion the poor, lost support
as Haitians accused his government of corruption and attacks against
his political opponents.
13) Anti-Aristide Force in No Rush to Disarm
By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER
.c The Associated Press
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti (AP) - At the looted and idle docks in this northern port city, men in new camouflage uniforms clutch aging weapons as they lounge in the shade and discuss U.S. requests that they lay down their arms. But not very seriously.
``We will wait for the general to tell us our job is done,'' said one, referring to Guy Philippe, a former police chief who led the uprising that prompted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to leave the country Feb. 29.
``We should stay three or four years because the Aristide people are everywhere, they are in the bushes,'' said another fighter.
Call them what you will, Haiti's new army, rebels or, as some of them here prefer, ``liberators,'' they are the only peacekeeping game in the region around Cap-Haitien, whose 500,000 people make it the country's second-biggest city.
The former rebels roam the city at night, but many residents welcome the patrols, saying the fighters are keeping houses from being burned and businesses robbed.
Local commanders instituted an overnight curfew beginning Monday evening, and one man was wounded for violating the order. The man, Tony Appollo, said he didn't know about the 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew and was shot in the arm when he entered town.
So far the peace seems to be holding. Unlike Port-au-Prince, the capital, Cap-Haitien hasn't seen any rioting since Aristide's fall. Rebels and residents did torch some homes the day the fighters seized the city Feb. 22, and looters hauled off 800 tons of U.N.-supplied food from the port, but Philippe's force stopped the looting within two days.
At the emergency room of Cap-Haitien's public hospital, nurse Marianne Nonez said the numbers of shootings and stabbings were about the same as before the uprising broke out a month ago.
She said she didn't know if political reprisals were to blame for any of the cases. ``They just drop them off here,'' she said.
The talk of Cap-Haitien now is whether any of the foreign troops in Port-au-Prince will be sent to this area, which while just 90 miles away is a seven-hour drive over potholed roads.
Maurice Daniel, who heads Philippe's force in Cap-Haitien, told The Associated Press he had been in touch with American officials, who have at least 1,600 Marines in the capital, along with 800 French and 300 Chilean soldiers.
``We will welcome (the foreign troops) with open arms if they can secure the security here,'' Daniel said.
Why hasn't his force disarmed?
``Oh my God, our job has just begun,'' Daniel said, referring to the attempt to disarm the former president's followers.
Pro-Aristide leaders apparently have fled, but the former president still has many supporters, particularly in the slums of Fort Saint Michel and Chat d'Or. It's unclear how strong pro-Aristide sentiment is in the city, which like many others voted overwhelmingly for Aristide in 2000 but grew disillusioned over his failure to help the poor and alleged violent tactics to quiet dissent.
People in the slums said patrols by the former rebels have dwindled to one a day or less. No one would admit knowing anyone with a gun.
Sitting near graffiti reading ``Aristide, King of Haiti,'' a commander in the Philippe force, Pierre Devens, said about a dozen armed Aristide supporters had been arrested. He said they were held only a day or two because there are no jails or judges now.
Last week a U.S. military helicopter flew reconnaissance missions over the city and apparently dropped off an American assessment team. Airport workers said the team stayed in a cement building at the end of the runway but hadn't been seen for several days.
A businessman, who agreed to talk with a reporter only on condition of anonymity, said the Americans had asked if there was a mayor (he fled last week) and how U.S. troops would be received.
For now, the Philippe force appears determined to do things its way.
``You have American forces in Port-au-Prince, but do they know
what is happening here?'' said one fighter at the docks. ``Do they
know who is who? So who is better here, them or us?''
14) Marines Kill Two Haitians in Gun Battle
By PETER PRENGAMAN and IAN JAMES
.c The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - U.S. Marines shot and killed two gunmen who opened fire on them, a spokesman said Wednesday, bringing to four the number of Haitians to die this week at the hands of the peacekeepers.
The Marines were patrolling Tuesday evening near the private residence of outgoing Prime Minister Yvon Neptune when they came under ``hostile fire,'' Staff Sgt. Timothy Edwards told The Associated Press.
He said they then shot and killed at least two gunmen. No peacekeepers were wounded.
U.S. Southern Command spokesman Raul Duany said the gunmen were shooting from a rooftop near the prime minister's residence.
Both Duany and U.S. Maj. Richard Crusan said the bodies of the alleged gunmen were never recovered and they could not immediately confirm the deaths. Edwards didn't say how he knew two gunmen had been killed.
In a separate incident, Crusan said several people got out of a car late Tuesday and fired on Marines, who shot back. Three people then fled on foot, Crusan said.
A body was still on the sidewalk early Wednesday near where the shooting occurred, but Crusan and others refused to say whether that person was involved.
On Sunday, Marines killed an alleged gunman who opened fire on a demonstration, and on Monday they killed a driver speeding toward a checkpoint.
The Defense Department has said the Marines acted within their orders to fire when they felt threatened.
The approximately 1,600 U.S. forces in Haiti have a limited set of circumstances under which they can use deadly force. They cannot stop looting, even of U.S. companies, nor can they stop Haitian-on-Haitian violence, officials said.
The shooting came as peacekeepers tried to begin disarming the general population, a potentially volatile move after weeks of bloodshed. There was little evidence of peacekeeper disarmament early Wednesday.
U.S. Col. Charles Gurganus said peacekeepers would work with Haitian police on the disarmament program. He urged Haitians to tell peacekeepers who has weapons and to turn in any arms, but he gave few details of how the program will work.
Rebel groups and supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide have threatened violence if weapons aren't taken away from their enemies.
Since U.S. and French peacekeepers arrived a week ago, there has been confusion over who is in charge of disarming groups. On Monday, Gurganus said disarming rebels was not part of the peacekeepers' mission, but he indicated that could change if police asked for help.
Many Aristide supporters were angry over Tuesday's selection of Gerard Latortue as the new prime minister. Latortue, who lives in Miami and has been critical of Aristide, was scheduled to arrive in Haiti later Wednesday.
``He doesn't understand the reality of the country,'' said Jacques Pierre, an Aristide supporter. ``He doesn't understand our hunger.''
Latortue, a former U.N. official and foreign minister, faces the difficult task of helping to restore peace following a monthlong insurgency that helped drive Aristide from power Feb. 29.
``I can facilitate the national reconciliation,'' Latortue told The Miami Herald. ``It is the most important thing today in Haiti after all the divisions we had in Aristide.''
Aristide fled to exile in the Central African Republic after rebels seized control of half the country, sparking a frenzy of looting and violence. More than 400 people have died in the rebellion and reprisal killings.
Aristide insists he is still president, having been forced out by the U.S. government. Washington denied the allegations.
His lawyers said they were preparing cases accusing authorities in the United States and France of abducting him and forcing him into exile.
In the United States, ``there are preparations for a kidnapping case against the American authorities,'' Brian Concannon said in Paris after meeting with Aristide in Africa. Concannon did not elaborate.
Another U.S. lawyer for Aristide, Ira Kurzban, has asked Attorney General John Ashcroft for a Justice Department investigation into the circumstances of Aristide's departure.
Aristide has been staying in the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic, since March 1. A delegation of South African officials arrived Wednesday for talks about his long-term asylum plans, Central African Republic officials said.
After five days of private meetings, a seven-member council settled on Latortue, who also served as an international business consultant in Miami.
Latortue and interim President Boniface Alexandre will work toward organizing elections and building a new government. Under Aristide, the prime minister's position was largely ceremonial, but Latortue will be a powerbroker and has the potential of carrying enough weight to smooth political divisions.
CIA Director George J. Tenet warned that ``a humanitarian disaster or mass migration remains possible'' in Haiti.
``A cycle of clashes and revenge killings could easily be set off, given the large number of angry, well-armed people on both sides,'' he told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. ``Improving security will require the difficult task of disarming armed groups and augmenting and retraining a national security force.''
Aristide was elected on promises to champion the poor, who make
up the vast majority of Haiti's 8 million people. But he has lost
support, with Haitians saying he failed to improve their lives,
condoned corruption and used police and armed supporters to attack
15) US Marines Defend Haiti Shootings
By JOHN J. LUMPKIN
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Marines who killed two Haitians in separate incidents were acting within their orders to fire when they felt threatened, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
U.S. forces in Haiti have a limited set of circumstances during which they can use deadly force. They cannot stop looting, even of American companies. Nor can they stop Haitian-on-Haitian violence, officials said.
Their mission is to protect key sites, like government buildings and the airport, to pave the way for an eventual U.N. peacekeeping force.
Late Monday, Marines shot and killed the driver of a vehicle speeding toward a military checkpoint, a spokesman said, marking the second reported fatality at the hands of the peacekeepers.
``When you see a vehicle approaching at high speed, it is seen as a threat so the Marines opened fire,'' spokesman Sgt. Timothy Edwards said. A passenger was wounded.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon that the Marines' actions were ``well within the rules of engagement. An individual Marine ... has an absolute right to defend himself and those around him.''
Some officials have declined to be too specific about the Marines' rules of engagement to avoid giving militants or criminals guidance on what they may do and avoid a run-in with the international forces.
Those rules are not expected to change absent a major change in the situation in Haiti, officials said.
About 1,600 U.S. troops, mostly Marines, are in Haiti, and the number is not expected to grow much further, said one Pentagon official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. France, Chile and Canada have contributed another 700 soldiers, officials said.
Marines said they shot and killed a gunman who fired at them during a demonstration Sunday in which seven people died, including a foreign journalist, and more than 30 were wounded.
The toll from a monthlong rebellion and reprisal killings rose to
more than 300, with the Pan-American Health Organization reporting
an estimated 200 corpses at the state morgue as being victims of the
17) US Says Aristide Rescued From Violence
Thu, Mar 04, 2004
By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The U.S. role in helping President Jean-Bertrand Aristide leave Haiti was partly a rescue operation because it spared him "almost certain violence" from armed gangs opposed to him, the State Department said Thursday.
Aristide and his supporters have contended that the United States coerced his departure, consequently subverting Haiti's democratic processes.
"We did not advocate his stepping down," State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher said.
"It's time to look forward. It's time to focus on what we can
all do for the people of Haiti," Boucher said.
Boucher said the United States had no interest in sending troops to prolong Aristide's rule.
The United States is under no obligation to risk "American blood and treasure" on behalf of any elected hemispheric leader "who might have misgoverned, who might have created more violence, who might have mismanaged his entire mandate," Boucher said.
In his remarks Wednesday, Patterson recommended a U.N. investigation in Haiti.
Boucher said the U.S. record is clear. "There is nothing to investigate," he said. The administration has repeatedly said that Aristide departed voluntarily to spare his country further violence.
In response to the U.S. actions, the Caribbean Community said it does not intend to provide peacekeepers under the circumstances.
Patterson said Aristide's claim that he was forced to step down constituted a "very dangerous precedent not only for Haiti, but also for democratically elected leaders and governments throughout the region."
Meanwhile at the Pentagon, Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there has been a significant decline in looting and other crimes in Haiti that occurred after Aristide's departure.
He told reporters that the Haitian police are responsible for stopping criminal activities.
U.S. Marines sent to Haiti will support the police, but "we're not there for law enforcement," he said. Instead, the Marines are there to protect key sites with the aim of enabling aid and, eventually, U.N. peacekeepers, to enter the country.
18) US Says Aristide Exit a Lesson for Failed Leaders
Thu Mar 4, 6:22 PM ET
By Saul Hudson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday rejected pressure for an investigation into whether it pushed former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign and said it would not prop up "failed" elected leaders.
After days of criticism that Aristide was ousted in a U.S.-assisted coup, the Bush administration's new defense of his "rescue" stoked fears its Haiti policy set a precedent for other leftists in Latin America, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that even if the United States "recognized a leader had been elected," he could not rely on U.S. support against an armed revolt if America considered he had misgoverned.
"We can't be called upon, expected or required to intervene every time there is violence against a failed leader," Boucher told reporters. "We can't spend our time running around the world and the hemisphere saving people who botched their chance at leadership."
"I do not think that's something the American government and the American people want, nor do I think it's ultimately good for democracy in the hemisphere," he said.
The new U.S. defense shifted from denying it forced Aristide out to explaining why the administration allowed him to fall as rebels were closing in on the capital.
Washington blamed the crisis on Aristide, whom it restored to power a decade ago with an invasion. After failing to mediate a settlement with the opposition, the United States rejected his pleas for police reinforcements, questioned his ability to govern and finally warned him U.S. Marines sent to Haiti would not protect him.
KIDNAP OR RESCUE?
"We certainly don't encourage or believe there is any need for an investigation," Boucher said. "We ended up rescuing him by taking him out of the country in the face of almost certain violence."
Larry Birns, of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, blamed the Bush administration for Aristide's exit. With a tilt to the left in Latin America in recent years, he worried it would encourage right-wing U.S. officials to go after leaders such as Chavez.
"Haiti was not about a flawed president but about a flawed (U.S.) foreign policy," said the director of the liberal think tank. "The Haiti pattern shows this administration is capable of anything. It will have an enormous negative reaction throughout Latin America and Chavez has cause to lose sleep."
U.S. officials have struggled this week to stave off concerns Chavez could meet Aristide's fate. In 2002, the Bush administration initially appeared to welcome a short-lived coup against the friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and has persistently criticized him while backing opposition demands for a recall vote against him.
Boucher singled out Venezuela as an example of how Washington has supported democracy in the region. "We've stood up for threats to democracy in Venezuela, whatever side they might be coming from," he said.
Crisis in Haiti - Complaint reference 614/2004/TES
In response to the crisis in Haiti, I have e-mailed the
1. If you have any way of getting into contact with Mr.
2. Please contact any and all supporters of Mr. Aristide
3. Inform all other international supporters of Mr. Aristide
Thank you, there may be hope yet!
C. E.(Human Rights Defense League)
----- Forwarded message from Euro-Ombudsman
Thank you for your communication of 28-02-2004.
Your complaint to the European Ombudsman has been given
The Ombudsman can only make inquiries into complaints
Please note that complaints to the European Ombudsman
Please note that as set out in the Art. 2 § 6 of
the Statute of
For further correspondence, we would be grateful if you
This message is in regards to European Union foreign policy,
The European Union must not stand to the side and allow
The situation in Haiti is most grievous and this is a
C. E.(Human Rights Defense League)